Friday, July 12, 2013

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia by S.J. KincaidReading Level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 446 Pages
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Narration: Third Person: Tom
Genre: Sci Fi/Dystopian
Challenge: Dystopian
Source: ARCycling

The Insignia Series:
Book One: Insignia
Book Two: Vortex
Book Three: Untitled (2014)

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S.J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy. The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and the war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning.

The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay...

My Review:

“There really was nothing firm, nothing certain. Even here, even at this place where he thought he’d found something permanent—everything could change in a day. Everything could be lost so quickly.”

Insignia takes place in the middle of World War III, a war that's fought with robots on different planets to avoid ecological disasters on Earth, and of course, the most important reason of all, to avoid human deaths. In order to direct the robots in outer space, exceptional teenagers are combed out of the overall population to undergo an operation that will essentially make them half computer as well, therefore enabling them to establish links with other machines and control them through their neural processors. Why not adults, you ask? Because their brains are already fully developed and reject anything foreign added to them, whereas teenage brains are still malleable and will adapt to any changes made to its environment. This idea was developed pretty well. It felt realistic, as if this could actually happen in the world today. If we did advance our technology enough to be able to travel robots to and fro the solar system, then the next logical choice would be to fight our wars somewhere that wouldn't harm the human population.

Our main character was Tom, a young and talented gamer who is forced to move from town to town in order to make the money that his father usually wastes gambling. Tom is headstrong, clever, idiotic around girls, and a bit arrogant at times. He constantly rebelled against authority, which impressed me at first, because authority was so obviously corrupted, but then annoyed me later on, because he didn't pick and choose which battles were worth fighting. Instead, he rebelled against anyone who was in charge or anyone who asked him to do something he didn't want to do (You'll see more of this in Vortex). He brought so many conflicting emotions out of me, because he's both strong and weak and clever yet stupid. There wasn't much character development in Insignia, but there is a little bit more in Vortex, which I decided to read before writing this review. xD

Some of the supporting characters....surprised me. I judged a lot of them at first glance, but then realized I was completely wrong when Kincaid turned their personalities around on me. There was a bit of romance, but since all these kids are around fourteen or fifteen, it didn't really progress into anything serious. There were your average crushes, which the boys were oblivious to, and then there was a computer girlfriend, which doesn't really count as a "relationship" in my book, at least not until they meet face to face.

Insignia was pretty well paced. It took a few chapters for me to get interested in what was happening, but once I did, it was smooth sailing from there. I actually did pick this book up around seven or eight months ago and chucked it back onto the shelf, because it failed to catch my attention. When I saw it at ARCycling, I decided to give it another shot because of all the high ratings on Goodreads and all the praise I've been hearing around the Internet. I was definitely glad I did, because this is a pretty good dystopian novel in the making. I was literally up to 4 A.M., desperately trying to finish this novel, because my brain wouldn't send the signal to my fingers to close the book. I blame my burning eyes on you, Kincaid! xD

Overall, Insignia was a great dystopian novel with a realistic premise that made sense. I felt like this could actually happen someday in the world. The main character has a lot of potential, but before he reaches it, he has a lot of growing up to do, which I'm fine with, because he's still pretty young. Another thing I forgot to mention in my review is that Insignia was not scarce in the comedy department. All the characters had their very own special kind of humor, whether it's an astounding wit or adorable ignorance, Insignia will definitely bring out a few laughs from even the most stoic of people.

Hero- 3.5/5 Has a lot of potential.
Romance- 3.5/5
Action- 4.5/5 Fast paced after
you get into the heart of the story.
Comedy- 4.5/5 Hilarious
Trailer- 4.5/5 Epic and informative
Overall- 4/5


  1. I'm glad you liked it! I got an ARC of this book last summer, and I really enjoyed it - I'm making my brother read it right now! Here's my review on Goodreads.

  2. "Why not adults, you ask? Because their brains are already fully developed and reject anything foreign added to them, whereas teenage brains are still malleable and will adapt to any changes made to its environment."

    Interesting twist. Usually when there's sci-fi elements that involve the brain, I get upset because they're not all that accurate. But that one feels real enough to make the world seem believable.

    "He constantly rebelled against authority, which impressed me at first, because authority was so obviously corrupted, but then annoyed me later on, because he didn't pick and choose which battles were worth fighting."

    Teenager? :( but it is good to hear that he later has some character development. And the part about the computer girlfriend made me laugh. It's good that there's humor even in a dark, well-paced action thriller like this. That's the best part :).

    1. Yeah I know what your talking about! So many sci-fi novels nowadays are just so unrealistic. This was the first one, at least that I remember, that had a believable theme.

  3. Hmm.. I started this but stopped midway because I get distracted easily but if it's as funny as you say I'll give it another shot :)

    1. Insignia is a bit slow in the beginning, but it does get better as you go on. :)

  4. Yeah, yeah! In the midst of INSIGNIA you will totally find the comedy of it. Totally worth reading it.

    If you wanted to know more about INSIGNIA and SJ Kincaid, you can check my blog :

    New follower. :D

  5. I have seen this several times at the library, but I always pass it up because I am honestly a little tired of dystopians. I feel like a lot of them are basically the same story, and it gets frustrating because I like these books. I have read several reviews now for Insignia though, and I am beginning to wonder if I should give it a shot. It doesn't seem perfect, but it seems unique. That is a huge plus. Maybe... just maybe. thank you for your review!

    1. Yeah, Dystopians have been getting on my nerves lately as well, but trust me, Insignia is super different in every way. It does have some flaws, but what sort of book doesn't?

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